Arrest of David Chen is ridiculous
When Chinatown shopkeeper Wang “David” Chen and his two employees made a citizen’s arrest after suspecting Anthony Bennett, a career criminal with over 40 convictions, was shoplifting from Chen’s “Lucky Moose Food Mart,” no one expected all four individuals to be charged with criminal offences.
Bennett confessed to police that he did take a number of plants from the Lucky Moose an hour before being tied up and forced to wait in the back of Chen’s van until authorities arrived. After Bennett stated that he suffered a beating and feared for his life, Chen was arrested and charged with kidnapping, carrying a dangerous weapon (a box cutter), assault and forcible confinement.
Two of the charges were dropped, but Chen still awaits his verdict on the charges that the Crown has decided to pursue: assault and forcible confinement.
It looks like Bennett has found himself in the right judicial system if individuals like Chen who attempt to enforce the law and protect themselves end up in handcuffs just like the criminals who have personally done them harm.
This ironic situation can be attributed to the current laws which state that shop owners may only detain thieves caught in the act, while having “reasonable grounds” to believe that a person has committed an offence isn’t enough. The current law doesn’t cut it.
If there’s anything that we’ve learned about the Canadian judicial system, it’s that it’s always accurate; our laws are hardly ever outdated and are here to serve Canadians, like you and me.
With that said, if Chen could take back that faithful day and do it over again, here are some friendly tips as to how he could have gone about dealing with Bennett in accordance with Canada’s laws.
First of all, Chen should have been able to tell that Bennett was a convicted thief; he should have been so certain it would almost seem as though Bennett was walking around with a criminal record on his back. What’s that? Chen had to help an 85-year old customer reach for something on the top shelf? Too bad, granny can wait — eyes always on Bennett.
If Bennett did manage to leave the Lucky Moose with the stolen goods, in spite of Chen’s omniscience and consistent stare, once Bennett returned all Chen needed to do was yell authoritatively, “Hey scumbag! Go to wherever you call home, bring back my plants, and when you return you must wait here until the police arrive!”
If this plan somehow managed to fail and Bennett began to flee the scene of the crime, Chen would be permitted, by all means, to pursue him.
Though if he did catch up to Bennett and they were running shoulder to shoulder, Chen could have reminded Bennett about the police thing or recited a couple of jokes about Bennett’s mother to catch him off guard. This would have most likely forced Bennett to trip over his own feet or fail to see the garbage can lying in his path.
If Bennett miraculously remained untroubled by the “yo mama” jokes and succeeded in hurdling over the trash can, Chen should have let him go, returned to his store to call the police and waited for them to arrive.
But wait a second, most Chinatown shopkeepers say that usually 5 to 6 hours will pass before the police make it to the scene of a crime. No need to worry though, police can catch a criminal like Bennett in Detroit before he makes it further south. They always do.
Clearly, one can fight against crime whilst abiding by Canada’s laws.
What’s that you say? The alternative scenario in David Chen’s case sounds awfully time consuming? Well, no one said anything about effectiveness.